Sunday, December 17, 2006

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Thursday, November 23, 2006

I urge everyone to go out and buy the current issue of The Walrus. Not every article is online. You have to buy the actual mag to find the intriguing cover story, namely, "The Virtue in Vice."

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Found a review of the new chocolate book in today's Star. Between that and this, it's a dark day for chocolate.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

If you'd like to be a subscriber to Al's Hidden Gems - the newsletter designed to help you out when there's nothing left to rent but Snakes on a Plane, drop me a line.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Pure Canada has a nice little story about drinks across Canada in their fall issue.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A new review of a certain cocktail book is up at Spirits Review. This, by the way, is a great site for those who are looking for the best, oh, say, bourbon and don't want to be bothered tasting them all. I can't imagine not wanting to taste them all myself, but it's an excellent resource.

Cheers.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

For those who like to keep track of these things (namely me) here's a link to my article in The Star about the new Edible Schoolyard project. Cheers.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The great Gary Regan reviews Mixologist for Nation's Restaurant News. (registration required)

Monday, July 31, 2006

Made a rare venture out of the house in the daytime today to discover that Toronto bars can no longer allow dogs on patios. It's actually provincial legislation and it will take some time before people actually start paying attention to this absurd law but, with health inspectors out enforcing the law in full force, this is the beginning of the end of the dog days of summer.

I'm not a dog person. I am a bar person, though. And. of the few thousand times I've shared a patio with dogs, I have never witnessed a problem. They are generally welcomed and fawned over by the customers and, in many bars, waitstaff bring out a dish of water.

For many customers, it's a nice civilized ritual to take the dog out fo a stroll and grab a quick pint. And, since we're in the outdoors, where a pigeon could easily crap on your food, I think it's more than a little bizarre to start worrying about the bacteria brought in by puppy.

In fact, I am in support of bar cats, like the kind you find in Belgium or France or, (used to be) the Rivoli on Queen. In New York, a particularly lovely bar called Chumley's has three very fat labradors who visit every evening and are late night fixtures.

But, then again, there's little hope for a sane approach at assessing real public risk these days, as evidenced by the news today that the USDA is hassling the Hemingway Home and Museum about getting rid of the sixty cats that roam the property. They are descendents of a multi-toed cat given to Hemingway in 1935 and are vaccinated, fed and well looked after. And a menace to Key West, obviously.

Regulate the beef industry to clean up the e.coli problem? Not today, thanks. Right now we're dealing with the cat problem in Florida.

Second link found at Bookslut.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

If you've read Mondo Cocktail you already know that the Mojito and the Daiquiri were earth-shatteringly important drinks in world history. For those of you who want to know more about the Mai Tai, the Flip, Punch and Grog and the impact they had on the new world, you might want to read Wayne Curtis' And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails.

It's reviewed here.

Update: The good folks at Appleton have just written to mention that it was quite a coincidence that my article ran on the 35th anniversary of Black Tot Day - when the Royal Navy stopped providing a ration of rum to its sailors.
Those who know me will know that I'm no fan of vodka. Still, this is a good recommendation for both candidates.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Vancouver Sun has an interesting article about mojitos.

In Cuba, where the mojito originates, it is apparently made with a kind of spearmint called yerba buena. In her book, Mondo Cocktail, Christine Sismondo makes a good case for an early version of the mojito being the first cocktail ever made. It was based on a sugarcane liqueur and mixed up by Sir Francis Drake in the 1570s.

The author traces Drake's mixed drink, called El Draque, up to the 1900s, when a Spanish immigrant to Cuba called Jose Abeal apparently "perfected" a rum version. It was called the mojito and was served at his grocery-store-cum-rumba-club, a place so decrepit it was eventually re-named Sloppy Joe's.

Cheers.



Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Doctor Cocktail (Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails) was "disgracefully unaware" of a new "literary" cocktail book on the market. Read his review at Martini republic here.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Julie Powell on reading for the stomach at the London Times:

No Tuscan hills and love among the foie gras for me. Just as a day at the beach isn’t complete without sand in uncomfortable places, I like food writing with grit.

Nora Ephron’s Heartburn (Virago) is a classic in the post-divorce revenge genre — try her linguine alla cecca for a simple summer meal.

Judith Moore’s wry Never Eat Your Heart Out (Profile) examines heartbreaks through the prism of apple pie and mashed potatoes. Or take a refreshing dive into Christine Sismondo’s Mondo Cocktail: A Shaken and Stirred History (McArthur). Chock-full of boozy facts and tart observations, with chapter headings such as “The Bloody Mary and the Communist Threat”, this goes down like a perfect margarita. If you’re in the mood for horror, try The Omnivore’s Dilemma (Penguin) by Michael Pollan — a sobering look at commercial agriculture with gallows humour and only the barest glimmer of hope.

Julie Powell is the author of Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen (Fig Tree) Stomach

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Before anybody comes to me with the news that the "debate is over," I refer you to Sullum. Of course, he has much, much more to say on the subject. I recommend starting with For Your Own Good.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Perhaps thanks to the recent release of Mixellany 2: The Journal of the American Cocktail (which contains an article written by me about the origin of the word "cocktail" and was ordered by far, far more people than anticipated), Mondo Cocktail has had a surge (no, that's not right...maybe a swell...no, a ripple?) Well, it seems at least one person brought one, bringing my sales up from #1,000,998 to, at some points yesterday, in the twenty thousand range!

My average seemed to have worked out at #73,468. This is almost right in between 100 Greatest Songs in Christian Music and MitzvahChic: A New Approach to Hosting a Bar or BatMitzvah that is Meaningful, Hip, Relevant, Fun & Drop-Dead Gorgeous.

No, by the way, I don't usually waste too much of my time looking at this stuff. Not anymore, at least.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Looking for something to do every other Monday?

Cheers.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

More news about the 200th anniversary of the word "cocktail."

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Looking for something to do this week? All of these parties sound fun to me.

Cheers.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Ottawa Life interviews the cocktail "maven."

Cheers.

Friday, April 07, 2006

So, you think you know your cocktail history? I can almost guarantee you haven't heard this one before. Well, unless you're one of the many who've heard me go on and on about cocktails and the first amendment after six Don Eduardos.

The second annual volume of Mixologist: The Journal of the American Cocktail will be published on 13 May 2006 and features works by noted cocktail authorities Christine Sismondo, Robert Hess, Gary Regan, LeNell Smothers, Gwydion Stone, Audrey Saunders, Dale DeGroff, Ryan Magarian, Darcy O'Neil, Jared Brown, and Anistatia Miller.
The never-before-published articles presented in Volume Two focus on the origins of the word "cocktail" and profession of bartending. Christine Sismondo puts forth the politically-charged early historical record of the word "cocktail." LeNell Smothers explores the origins and evolution of the Colonial American classic, the Mint Julep. Gwydion Stone relates the story of the "Green Fairy"--absinthe. Gary Regan uncovers the true birth of the Cosmopolitan.
Robert Hess relates the need for passion in the execution of the mixologist's art, while Dale DeGroff explains how to set up a successful bartending operation. Ryan Magarian shows how he developed a bar program for a cruiseship line. Anistatia Miller and Jared Brown sit down with Henry Besant and Dre Masso of the Worldwide Cocktail Club to discuss the future of cocktails from a British perspective.
Audrey Saunders details the cold, hard facts about the second most important ingredient to go into a cocktail--ice. Our resident chemist Darcy O'Neil delves into a definitive and scientific discourse on sweet & sour mix.
To close this volume, Robert Hess returns with the history of Bacardi Rums.
Published by Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller, net proceeds from the sales of Mixologist: The Journal of the American Cocktail will benefit The Museum of the American Cocktail.

What are you standing there for? Go out and buy it... er, I mean, stay in and order it online already!

Cheers.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Michelle Dompierre Southern at Bella Online has a review of a cocktail book up today.

Monday, March 27, 2006

In case you're curious about the history of oysters.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

15 people who can (or could) drink more than you!

Excellent article in the Boston Phoenix on the topic.

Cheers.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I noticed this article about overpriced cocktails. Different animals than the $45 Sidecar, these are just examples of New York gone crazy. I would like to add Markt to the list but can't remember specific prices, only a vague feeling of being scandalized.

Cheers.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

If you're not a regular reader of the Toronto Star's Saturday shopping section, you might have missed Marion Kane's article about the $45 Sidecar at the Royal York. It was delicious.

Also this weekend, there was a review of Norah Vincent's Self-Made Man.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Rum is coming back! Of course, it's been popular in my kitchen for a while. Recent visitors would confirm that banana daiquiris are the current drink of choice. With one of those and a vuelve a la vida, you can almost pretend it's not winter in Canada. Although, come to think of it, just looking outside my window today I can almost pretend it isn't winter in Canada today.

Cheers.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Ukula reviewed Mondo Cocktail today. I've been away in Nevada, Mexico and California for a little bit, so I neglected to post links to mentions of the book in the Dallas Morning News on January 9th and the Calgary Herald on December 31. Neither are available online it seems, but both are found on Factiva and Lexis Nexis.

Oh, and Happy New Year!